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Muttaqi discusses lifting restrictions, unfreezing assets with US envoy

The Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan said on Monday that the delegation led by the acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, in Doha, Qatar and discussed several topics, including lifting restrictions on Taliban leaders and unfreezing assets of Afghan central bank.

“The delegation led by the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Da Afghanistan Bank – Central Bank, as well as the officials of the Afghan Embassy and Political Office in Qatar; [they] talked with Thomas West, the US special representative for Afghanistan, and a fifteen-person high-ranking delegation from various agencies for two days at the level of collective and various technical committees,” the statement said.

According to the statement, both sides discussed several issues, including building trust between each other; taking practical steps in this direction; removing names from blocklists and lifting sanctions; unfreezing Afghanistan’s frozen reserves; maintaining Afghanistan’s economic stability; fighting against drugs; and the issue of human rights.

Meanwhile, “Humanitarian aid, freedom to travel and consular services reaching Afghans in every part of the world were also important topics discussed,” the report said.

The US did not immediately comment on the negotiations.

Most Taliban leaders need permission from the UN to travel outside the country, and financial sanctions have crippled the country’s banking sector.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, about $7 billion belonging to the Central Bank of Afghanistan has been frozen in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Half of those funds are now with a Swiss-based Afghan fund.

A recent audit of Afghanistan’s central bank funded by the US failed to secure support from Washington to restore bank assets from the Swiss trust fund.